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Why you don't have to wear the "badge" of hair loss - a post by Suburban Turban Founder, Nicky Zip

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 16:00:00 Europe/London

 

young woman wearing red beret chemo hat smiling

Today on the blog, we're featuring a post written by Suburban Turban founder, Nicky Zip.  As ever you can let us know your thoughts on our buzzing Facebook and Twitter pages or drop a comment below!

I met a lovely group of women at Maggie’s Centre, Oxford where I was visiting last week. I’d gone along for a chat about headwear, however before I got going a lady leaned across and said, looking at the pile of hats next to me, ‘That’s the "badge" isn’t it?’. I knew exactly what she meant and her comment inspired this post. Headwear doesn’t have to be ‘a badge’, but how do you get it straight in your own mind that is the case?

Let’s define the "badge" first. Most women experiencing chemo hair loss think of turbans as the most widely recognised style to wear. This means anything with ruching up the centre front will resemble a turban. If this shouts ‘medical’ or ‘patient wear’ to you - avoid it. There are many other hat styles out there that convey chic, stylish, quirky, 60’s, funky - in fact, just about anything you want to convey! Secondly, decide whether you are worried about consistency, i.e. ‘I must look as I always have’. Or, decide to allow yourself some freedom and greater choice to try things new. This will determine your wig purchase (if you choose to wear one) and how much wig wearing you intend to do.

Adapting to having hair loss

Female hair loss is traumatic whatever the condition. Many women tell us that they find this symptom to be extremely hard to cope with, because it is the most visible display of their condition. Female hair loss is rarely discussed in the media, even in the medical sense and there are certainly few fashion articles to inform women how they might look without hair or how to manage their new ‘hair less’ appearance. So what to do when it is happening to you? I should say here, my comments are formed from talking to hundreds of women over the years but by no means will they be suitable for all. All of us as women have a unique relationship with our hair. Love it or bear a long standing apathy towards it, we’d all prefer it not to go.

Hair cuts, sleep caps and headwear

All women find rapidly shedding hair the most traumatic of times and, although we can’t control the loss, we can take steps to control the trauma. This might be having our hair styled shorter – shorter hair is less noticeable than longer hair when it falls. By wearing a sleep cap at night to catch hair, you will not wake up and see it all over the pillow in the morning (our Pella is a bestseller, and comes in many prints and shades, to suit all styles and seasons). Or have a chat with a trusted hairdresser to get tips on how to dress/blow dry hair to conceal patchy Alopecia.
 
Suburban Turban Pella sleep hat         

 

Our new Wide Knot Headband (below) is fantastic as an option for patchy hair loss (especially at the hairline and temples, as with androgenetic hair loss, for example).

 
Suburban Turban Wide Rose headband
 
And, when headbands or scarves no longer cover this stage and you’re considering getting your head shaved and wearing a wig, it helps to be able to gain trusted advice (ask for an appointment when the salon is normally quiet - you don’t need to sit in a packed salon looking at women who are hair-rich.)

Advice on wigs

Most women are proactive and seem to know when 'enough is enough' and they are ready to move onto the next stage. It is worth noting here that most hospitals have some form of wig supplier on site and many have stylists who come in and will shave bio hair and advise on personalising your wig. This is invaluable and suddenly makes any wig your own - don’t under estimate the real value of this service. Most wigs are manufactured with too much hair and need to be thinned, or at the very least shaped to your face. If the Dermatology department you’re attending doesn’t have much provision, wander over to the Oncology department and ask what goes on there. Fresh Hair is a fabulous modern salon based within the cancer centre at University Hospital North Staffordshire who are doing just that, opening up their services to all women experiencing hair loss.
 
At the Maggie’s event there was a wonderful wig stylist on call to help ladies with their wigs that afternoon. She styled a wig in front of us and all of us were surprised at the quantity of fibre that was removed but also the transformation to the wearer – I’d say about 10 years! Whenever you decide to purchase your wig, shop around don’t rush into it. More tips for choosing a wig: look online for wig selection advice and tips, check out NHS voucher compatible styles in your local hospital and then maybe tackle your local stores. If you’re at all unsure, just walk away and leave it for another day. If you have something to put on your head there is no rush, but do leave yourself enough ‘well’ time to look. If you’re looking at long term hair loss, there are many systems and price bands to choose from and it is well worth doing your research before parting with your cash.

Make the most of your hairdresser

It is important to note that there is nothing embarrassing about approaching your hairdresser at this time. Ordinarily, their advice is hair led but they can often be one of the first people to spot patchy Alopecia (depending where it is on your head). I’ve heard some wonderful stories of salons staying open late for quieter appointments, private areas for head shaving and a flow of positive information about what can be done. Equally, I hear the not so good stories. Don’t put yourself in a difficult situation, either go where you know, or ring and ask about their hair loss/wig expertise and describe fully what you are looking for. Two wonderful outlets include Julia Lampard and Looking Good and Feeling Better, the latter salon is a member of Trevor Sorbie’s My New Hair network and more are listed at My New Hair.

Finding and expressing your style

Rapsberry Pink Trilby at Suburban Turban
 
Once your hair loss is established remember you are still you. Your personality and sense of style are all there, still intact! Any headwear you wear should fall in with that – your wardrobe, the colours you love to wear (like our new hot pink trilby, pictured!). Take it gently at first - very few of us wear enough hats these days to know exactly what suits us. Some tips? Try some easy, ‘pull on and go’ casual styles that are soft and cool to wear. Preferably in colours that you have lots of in your wardrobe and this will minimise anxiety and faffing on a daily basis. It is only natural to feel you don’t want to draw ‘unnecessary attention’ to yourself in the early days (I have heard this a lot). Actually, a few compliments at this time are exactly what you need. Once you’ve mastered a few styles and got an idea for what flatters your face shape, you can try more adventurous styles and really start developing ‘your look’.

We know there is no substitute for a full head of your own hair, but there are so many stylish options available to women now and it's precisely this challenge which inspired the launch of Suburban Turban! Most importantly, don’t feel you have to put up with "badge" headwear - something that only works in its most practical sense, i.e it covers your head. Any headwear, wherever you find it – from us to your local charity shop – should lift your day and keep you looking good to feel better!

 
 

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Do I have to pay VAT?

If you are experiencing hair loss you may not have to pay the VAT on some of our products. Headwear we have designed and manufactured specifically for hair loss wear is exempted. ‘Standard’ items of headwear such as scarves, brooches, some winter/summer hats by other designers, skincare are not eligible. They have not been ‘adapted’ for special wear. The ‘status’ of items will be displayed in your basket, before ordering, once a short health declaration is completed.

During checkout you will be asked to confirm that you will be using our products for your own personal medical purposes.

It is a legal requirement stipulated by HRMC that Suburban Turban Ltd can justify our customers’ VAT exemption status. Please be aware that these details maybe verified at a later date.